Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Chicken & Mushroom Chimichanga – A Thingamajig of Beauty

As legend has it, many years ago in Tucson, AZ, a woman accidentally dropped a burrito into a deep fryer. She started to blurt out a common Spanish swear word, but remembering her kids were in the kitchen, yelled out “chimichanga!” instead. She let it fry golden and crisp, and the rest is culinary history.

If you’re wondering, Chimichanga translates to “thingamajig,” which is fitting, since that’s kind of what this is. A thingamajig stuffed with whatever. In this case, whatever was a very tasty mixture of chicken, mushrooms, poblano chilies, and pepper Jack cheese.

While that particular combination is highly recommended, this is more of a technique video, so when it comes to the filling, I encourage wild experimentation. We used raw chicken here, but Chimichangas are also great for using up leftover, cooked meats. Just cube it up, toss it in when the vegetables are done, and proceed as shown.

And don't feel like you have to stay in the Tex-Mex zone. This versatile, folded and fried tortilla could make a fantastic delivery system for all kinds of ethnic foods. Anyway, no matter what kind of filling is used, or how it’s seasoned, I think everyone will agree that it’s never a good idea to curse in front of children. I hope you give this delicious son-of-a-gun a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
(exact measurements are not critical, as you can stuff these with anything that fits)

For the filling:
1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided (half for veggies, half to cook chicken)
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced poblano peppers
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breast meat, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
salt, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle, smoked paprika, or other hot or mild ground chili pepper
pinch dried Mexican oregano
1 or 2 tbsp cold water to deglaze pan once chicken is browned
4 ounces grated pepper Jack cheese

Also:
4 large flour tortilla (at least 10-inch wide)
1 egg white
2 tbsp vegetable oil for pan-frying
sour cream, guacamole, and salsa to garnish, optional

27 comments:

blogagog said...

Chef, do you happen to remember the brand of flour tortilla you used? They looked extremely thin and tasty. The ones for sale here are much thicker and can be doughy (I think the brand we use is "Mission").

Eric Pepple said...

I love...LOVE chimichangas. Make them all the time. Great recipe Chef :)

Sandra Schultz said...

You are right Chef John, these are great - and DON'T need to be deep fried. Here is a tip for warming flour tortillas. Wrap a stack of them in a SLIGHTLY damp clean towel and put them in a skillet into a low heat oven. Makes Perfect pliable tortillas!

Sandra Schultz said...

OH BTW,
I think you are a much better chef than that F***in Chef Ramsay.

Chef John said...

Thanks for the tip, Sandra!

Blogagog, Sorry, threw away the package, but they were some fancy brand I got at Whole Foods.

fthills1 said...

Thank you! Finally someone who hates wraps as much as I do!!

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Greetings Chef, I'm a liking the shallow-frying followed by the in-the-oven method a lot. Ain't nothing much worse than hot grease splattered all over a stove top. Muchisimas gracias Senor Chef!

Sandy said...

I love your filling idea. I think I shall adapt this to a quesadilla. Chimichangas are great, but I prefer the higher surface-to-mass ratio of the quesadilla, as it facilitates dipping.

grumbleghoul said...

Went hunting for the first one of these you did, It was in with a few recipes for a Cinco de Mayo list. I remembered that one as being a little different with black beans in it maybe? the link to that one is broken. Anyhow, years ago we tried this, and it became a regular feature in our household menu! We eventually changed the chicken to a beef mixture, but still awesome nonetheless. Thanks Chef.

Rudy said...

Can you make ahead. Thinking smaller ones for a party

Scott Barber said...

As legend has it, many years ago in Philadelphia, Little Anthony and the Imperials showed up on Dick Clark's American Bandstand and sang "Shimmy Shimmy CoCo Bop". Every time I go to the local pseudo-Mexican restaurant and snarf down a chimi or two, I sing this song... fortunately for the other customers, I sing to myself. NOW, I can make them at home and shimmy while I chimi! Thanx.

Taran Sayal said...

Has everyone ever told you that you have an awesome voice? It's very cheery! Love the video!

Myztique said...

I made this today and they came out great. Thank you!

wendyc said...

I made these last night. I used white cheddar and mozzarella (what I had on hand) and they turned out great. Thanks for the recipe!

franiqueblack said...

Made this today and the husband loved it. Thanks for the recipe,Chef John!! :)

Franken Stein said...

Isn't this just a glorified wrap? :D

Steve Davino said...

I just made these and we love them. Chef John I love all your recipes and videos. Thank You.

Dipti Joshi said...

I am planning to make them for dinner. Mouthwatering recipe!

Suzannah Gordon said...

What brand of plates are those? I love them! Making this with leftover chicken tonight!

Chef John said...

Sorry, that was a sample plate I got a long time ago! No idea!

Mark Anderson said...

Great recipe, Captain. Easy and fun. I used pork tenderloin and a little this and a little of that. Turned out great.

Tshilaba Verite said...

I got all prepped to make this and then realized I was out of tortillas! Used tortilla chips and just treated like nachos/dip, and that turned out very well too, so I guess it's multifunctional! Thanks for the recipe!

WoundedEgo said...

I just made these and they are out of this world. I realized too late that I left out the garlic but it was still awesome. I think next time I might add in some black beans. Thanks Chef John!

Mike Holland said...

Chef John,

Going to make these tonight. Wish me luck! :)

P.S. Your videos are amazing and very easy to follow!! Love the recipes; keep 'em coming!

Mike

IvetteMateos said...

Hello,
This looks delicious.
Just to let you know, chimichangas is actually a dish from the north of Mexico.
:)

Chef John said...

It is now, but not originally!

WoundedEgo said...

It is prolly best to admit that the pre-American version involved road-kill!